The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) is the stumbling block to quality education in the country, The Manila Times Chairman Emeritus Dante A. Ang said on Tuesday.
In an economic forum conducted by this paper in partnership with Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Ang spelled out some underlying issues that the education and other sectors need to address.
He said that CHEd has been lacking in terms of supervising and providing quality education in all state colleges and universities.
“Quality education is expensive. If we want quality education, we must invest in faculty training, quality facilities and equipment,” Ang pointed out.
Moreover, he reiterated that CHEd is of the mistaken notion that “it is within its mandate to interfere with the internal affairs of the colleges and universities, both public and private.”
“It inserts itself in the management and operations of the schools involving even small matters that are clearly the responsibility of the institutions,” Ang said.
He also questioned CHEd’s capability to promote excellent programs that will be beneficial to the younger generation and further improve their skills, such as the Intramed under the medicine program.
“Intramed is an abbreviated six-year medicine program offered by [the University of the Philippines]. Why can’t CHEd open Intramed to all medical schools? Why can’t CHEd promote and encourage our medical schools to offer Intramed instead of the usual 8-year medicine program?” Ang said.
In terms of CHEd policy, according to him, only those programs listed on its Commission Memorandum Order (CMO) can be offered, making it unfair for other programs that are not included in the list.
“Even if your program is relevant, or globally relevant, if your new program is not included in the CMO, you can forget it,” he said.
Another problem that Ang pointed out regarding CHEd policy is that if your school is autonomous, you can offer even the most ridiculous program you could think of.
“Why penalize the college that is not autonomous for its initiative and creativity? And why is there a divide between an autonomous and a not autonomous college?” he said.
Ang then argued that if the government is serious about quality education in the country, it should immediately consider scrutinizing the law that created CHEd and how the latter’s commissioners have interpreted that law.
“CHEd is an albatross around the necks of the public and private educational institutions,” he said.
Ang urged CHEd to not overly control the schools and instead allow them to embody academic freedom by giving them the right to decide how the educational system should work.